Pumped-up Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins (Fit for a Soccer Team)

This is my reduced-sugar (but plenty sweet) take on a banana-bread recipe my college roommate used to make. I decided to try it as a snack for my son Roman’s soccer team, mainly because: 1) I’ve never found anyone who doesn’t love it, and 2) it’s just so dang simple.

It literally took me 10 minutes to throw everything in a bowl and then throw them in the oven. AND because I had most of the ingredients in the pantry already, it was about half the cost of a store-bought snack (score #3).

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Since my kids won’t come within ten feet of a banana, I decided to substitute pumpkin for the bananas. I also wanted to “wholesome” it up a bit for the little athletes, so I added some cinnamon applesauce and rolled oats, and cut the sugar almost in half. Then I threw in some chocolate chips (to sweeten the deal) because, let’s face it, I knew homemade, straight-up pumpkin muffins weren’t going to go over well when the boys found out they weren’t getting their goldfish or sun chips.

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Not that I’m above goldfish and sun chips (believe me, I’ve bought my fair share).

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But this time, as one mom put it (“Look at you raising the bar!”), well … I thought it wouldn’t hurt to raise the bar. Along with the energy level. At least slightly.

There were a few kids who, expecting the fish or chips, were a little thrown by the baked goods. But they ate ‘em all up.

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minus one that got away …

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Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins

1/2 cup butter or vegetable oil
1/2 – 3/4 cup raw cane sugar (normally calls for 1 cup)
2 eggs
3/4 cup organic canned pumpkin (or, if you prefer, smashed ripe banana)
1/2 cup organic cinnamon applesauce
1  1/4 cups sifted whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 – 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each. Stir in pumpkin and applesauce. Sift together dry ingredients; add to pumpkin mixture and mix well till blended. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Fill 20 – 24 muffin liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.